Frank Gilroy has a GREAT post on his observations on “6 Things Regular People Aren’t Doing on the Internet.”
He also covers some I haven’t harped upon like “buying big ticket items sight unseen” and “telecommuting” but first and foremost on his list is this: “regular” people aren’t subscribing to RSS feeds.
It’s a common question for tech teachers such as Dave Taylor and despite a WEALTH OF posts and pages on how to subscribe, according to SlashDot… as of January 2007, only 12% of internet users knew what RSS was and even fewer, 4% used it knowingly.
Most of my clients aren’t creating web sites directed at the tech savvy 4-12%…. instead, they’re focusing on reaching “regular” people…. which is why I recommend that ALL of my clients treat RSS in the same manner that they treat the search engines.
Treat RSS as if it doesn’t exist. Any RSS subscribers to your blog are “gravy”. The real value is in your email newsletter. The level of trust required to subscribe to your RSS feed is minimal (see Trust is Not Transitive) so even if regular people WERE using RSS to subscribe, it’s still a good idea to have an email newsletter in addition to your RSS feed from your blog.
If your customers are “regular people” you’ve got to meet them where they live. Regular people may not understand RSS but they do understand email and that’s where your email newsletter comes in handy!